By BRIAN SMITH
American Legion Post 163 is looking for a few good drivers.
Legion members transport other veterans to medical appointments at doctors offices and VA facilities in Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco and Fort Hood throughout the year. Russ Herrick with the Legion said volunteers have driven up to 20 Parker County veterans a month to appointments.
About 20 volunteers used to take part in the program to assist veterans. Over the years, those numbers have dwindled, according to Legion member Chuck Katlic, a World War II veteran and one of the drivers.
“If we could get those numbers back where each volunteer was only driving about once a month, that’d be great,” Katlic said. “I’m blowing and going all the time now doing this.”
Fuel and maintenance on the van, which was donated years ago and has more than 100,000 miles on it, gets expensive. Money for the transportation program comes from private donations, which are always needed and welcomed, and from the veterans being transported themselves. Many of the vets don’t have the money to give or a way to get to their appointments, Herrick said, so the public is being asked to help in whatever way they can.
“Without that support, the post will not be able to continue offering such a service,” Herrick said.
Men or women can volunteer to drive, provided they have a driver’s license. Training is provided and volunteers must be willing to spend an unknown amount of time during the appointment.
Anyone willing to volunteer their time to help a veteran in need or donate monies to keep the program going is asked to call Herrick at 940-859-9464 or Jesse Dye at 817-613-1493.